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Drama Canadian

Live Bird in its Jaws, A

by (author) Jeanne-Mance Delisle

translated by Yves Saint-Pierre

Signature Editions
Initial publish date
Jun 1992
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jun 1992
    List Price

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Winner of the Governor General's Award for Drama, A Live Bird in its Jaws is a play within a play. Hélène is writing a play which draws heavily on the past of her lover Xavier and his twin brother Adrien. The brothers reluctantly agree to perform the parts Hélène has written for them, but she refuses to reveal the ending until the actual staging of the piece. A storm prevents the rest of the cast from coming, but the brothers begin their lines, which lead inevitably to the tragic ending Hélène did not want to write.

A Live Bird in its Jaws, Yves Saint-Pierre's translation of Jeanne-Mance Delisle's Un oiseau vivant dans la gueule, is stunning in its clarity. Seduced by both the language and the images, we are drawn into the heavy beauty of this drama. Toronto's Theatre Passe Muraille premiered the English production A Live Bird in its Jaws.

About the authors

Contributor Notes

Jeanne-Mance Delisle won the Governor General's award for French drama in 1987 for the original French version of A Live Bird in its Jaws, Un oiseau vivant dans la gueule, a deep and disturbing play about love, incest, and death.

About the translator

Yves Saint-Pierre has translated two novels, Paul Toupin's The New Inquisition and Jacques Godbout's An American Story, Anne Legault's play A Visit from the Indians, Fernando Arrabal's play A Girl for a Gorilla and Pierre Dagenais' teleplay The Buck. Also a widely-published poet, Saint-Pierre currently lives in Montreal where he teaches English literature.

Editorial Reviews

“Clearly, A Live Bird In Its Jaws is not your garden-variety domestic drama. Delisle's play, which won the 1987 Governor-General's award for French drama, is about nothing less than a complete meltdown of Freudian passions between three characters: the traditional love triangle bent, stretched and twisted into a kaleidoscope of sexual intrigues.”

—The Globe & Mail